Tempeh and papaya satay skewers

Tempeh and papaya satay skewers

Green Kitchen Travels

Many years ago, Luise and I spent a couple of weeks backpacking and eating our way around Bali, Indonesia. We tried crispy and thin cassava chips, many peanut butter and fragrant rice dishes, the horrifically odorous durian fruit and a wide array of vegetable skewers (along with a really nasty microwave pizza that will probably never leave our memory).

Tempeh is a fermented soya bean cake that is common all around Indonesia, and now also around the world. High in protein, it contains healthy bacteria from the fermentation and is a good alternative to meat for vegetarians. It’s available fresh or frozen from some health food stores or online. We marinate the tempeh in a sweet soy sauce and spear it on skewers together with papaya. When papaya isn’t completely fresh and ripe it often lacks flavour, but when grilled it releases its juice and becomes all sweet and yummy. — David

Peanut and coconut sauce


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons peanut butter
or 4 tablespoons almond butter
120ml full-fat coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Tempeh skewers

Quantity Ingredient
225g gmo-free tempeh
2 tablespoons gmo-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 small papaya

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
whole lettuce leaves
a handful mint, leaves picked
a handful coriander, leaves picked and roughly chopped
lime wedges


  1. First make the sauce. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring until everything is combined. Tip into a small bowl, leave to cool then chill until ready to serve.
  2. Cut the tempeh into thick slices. Stir together the soy sauce, maple syrup and grated ginger in a bowl. Place the tempeh in the marinade, turn to coat a couple of times and leave to marinate for about 10 minutes.
  3. Peel the papaya, remove the seeds and cut into slices the same size as the tempeh. Thread the papaya and marinated tempeh onto skewers (soaked first, if bamboo or wooden), either alternately on the same skewers or on separate ones.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan and fry the skewers on each side for a few minutes, or cook on a hot barbecue for 3–5 minutes, turning as needed, until nicely marked on all sides without being burned.
  5. Brush the skewers with the remaining marinade while they are being grilled. Serve with the chilled sauce, a few lettuce leaves, fresh mint, coriander and some lime wedges to squeeze over.
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